Damage to the Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system stretching along the East coast of Australia from the northern tip down to the town of Bundaberg., composed of roughly 2,900 individual reefs and 940 islands and cays that stretch for 2,300 kilometres (1,616 mi) and cover an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
According to the 2014 report of the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), climate change is the most significant environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef, while the other major environmental pressures are listed as decreased water quality from land-based runoff, impacts from coastal development and some persistent impacts from fishing activities. The reef is also threatened by storms, coral bleaching and ocean acidification. The 2014 report also shows that, while numerous marine life species have recovered after previous declines, the strength of the dugong population is continuing to decline. Terry Hughes, Federation Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, wrote in a 14 August 2014 Conversation piece that harmful government policies and ongoing conflicts of interest over mining royalties are risks of an equivalent magnitude.
The GBRMPA consider climate change, poor water quality, coastal development, and some impacts from fishing to be the area’s major threats, but reef scientists Jon Day, Bob Pressey, Jon Brodie and Hughes stated that the “cumulative effects of many combined impacts” is the real issue. In a Conversation Article, Mathieu Mongin, a biogeochemical modeller at CSIRO and colleagues mapped parts of the Great Barrier Reef that are most exposed to ocean acidification. This map of pH on the Great Barrier Reef presents the exposure to ocean acidification on each of the 3,581 reefs, providing managers with the information they need to tailor management to individual reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is not a singular reef nor a physical barrier that prevents exchange between reefs; it is a mixture of thousands of productive reefs and shallow areas lying on a continental shelf with complex oceanic circulation.
The Australian and Queensland Governments committed to act in partnership in 2007 to protect the reef, and water quality monitoring programmes were implemented. However, the World Wildlife Fund criticised the slow progress of the governments, raising a concern that as many as 700 reefs continued to be at risk from sediment runoff. The Australian government then outlined further action after the WHC called for the completion of a strategic assessment of the Reef area in 2011. The Committee also urged the government to use the assessment data to develop a long-term plan for protecting the “Outstanding Universal Value” of the reef, which is the basis for its World Heritage listing. Again, criticisms emerged from the expert community—due to vague quantitative targets, the absence of clear, specific strategies, and no mention of the implications of climate change—but the significant efforts of both state and federal governments addressed key recommendations from the World Heritage Committee.
A 2012 UNESCO report, published by the World Heritage Committee (WHC), then criticised the government’s management of the Great Barrier Reef, warning that the area could be downgraded to a world heritage site “in danger” unless major changes were implemented. The report expressed “extreme concern” at the rapid rate of coastal development, highlighting the construction of liquefied natural gas plants at Gladstone and Curtis Island, and recommended that thorough assessments are made before any new developments that could affect the reef are approved. UNESCO specifically recommended no new port development in Abbot Point, Gladstone, Hay Point, Mackay, and Townsville.
On the second day of the 2013 round of the biennial training exercise ‘Talisman Saber’, in which 28,000 US and Australian military personnel conduct joint activities over a three-week period,four unarmed bombs were dropped into the Great Barrier Reef by two US AV-8B Harrier jets that were unable to land with the weight of the weapons. To minimize potential harm to the reef, the four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped into more than 50 meters (164 ft) of water away from the reef’s coral structures. The bomb drop was originally planned to occur at the Townshend Island bombing range, but after controllers reported that the area was not clear of hazards, the emergency jettison occurred. Australian senator Larissa Waters responded to the news by asking, “Have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Australia : End the abuse of refugees on Nauru

 
Australian immigration detention facilities comprise a number of different facilities throughout Australia (including one on the Australian territory of Christmas Island). They are currently used to imprison people who are detained under Australia’s policy of mandatory immigration detention, and previously under the now defunct Pacific Solution. The facilities are currently operated by Serco, and were previously run under G4S who used to be named Global Solutions Limited (GSL), under contract from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Background 
The Migration Act 1958 allowed discretionary detention of unauthorised arrivals until 1992. Since the 1990s when the Keating Government created a policy of mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals, with non-citizens arriving by boat without a valid visa being detained until they were either granted a visa, or deported. Towards the end of the 1990s, a large increase in the number of unauthorised arrivals exceeded the capacity of the existing Immigration Reception and Processing Centres at Port Hedland and Curtin.
The facilities have been a source of much controversy during their time of operation. There have been a number of riots and escapes, as well as accusations of human rights abuses from organisations such as refugee advocates, Amnesty International, the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations. Journalists are forbidden from entering the detention centres. On January 2014, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens accused the government of a cover-up over a violent clash on 18 October 2013 at the Manus Island facility between the Papua New Guinea army and the Papua New Guinea police mobile squad hired for the facility’s security, leading to Australian expatriate staff being evacuated, while local staff and asylum seekers remained. On 5 May 2014, it was reported that several Salvation Army staffers had alleged that refugees were regularly subjected to beatings, racist slurs, and sexual assaults within the facility.
In March 2002, Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: It is obvious that the prolonged periods of detention, characterised by frustration and insecurity, are doing further damage to individuals who have fled grave human rights abuses. The detention policy has failed as a deterrent and succeeded only as punishment. How much longer will children and their families be punished for seeking safety from persecution? Former Prime Minister John Howard and successive immigration ministers maintained that their actions were justified in the interests of protecting Australia’s borders and ensuring that immigration law was enforced.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic playing cricket with Shane Warne

Novak Djokovic has put his racket to one side to try his hand at Australian rules football, cricket, basketball and soccer (football, to our English readers) ahead of the upcoming Open. The world No 2 is gearing up for the Australian Open, where he will be hoping to win the competition for a seventh time. He looked in high spirits as he took part in A Night with Novak at the Margaret Court Arena getting to grips with a range of different sports.

Good Bye Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting at a training session at the Ade...
Ricky Ponting at a training session at the Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At a time when cricket is passing through a critical stage of its history and  losing some of its charm as a result of match fixing and other scandals, another legend is saying goodbye to cricket. According to news reports, Australian batting great and captain Ricky Ponting has left the cricket field forever. Ponting announced his retirement from all types of cricket before the series with South Africa. Ricky Ponting scored 13,000 runs in Test cricket, which is the second highest after Sachin Tendulkar of India. Those who follow cricket consider him the second greatest batsman in Australian cricket history after Sir Donald Bradman. Ponting’s remarkable performance has surpassed that of  former captains Steve Waugh and Allan Border. In his captaincy Australia won two World Cup crowns.  Ponting scored a remarkable century in the World Cup final against India. Although he scored just eight runs in his last innings against South Africa in Perth, he is the only player after Sachin Tendulkar to have scored more than 13,000 runs, and he was master in under pressure cricket. Ponting’s career was neat and clean just like his performance on the field, and despite the long years of his career, he was never involved in a scandal. 

Australia will find it hard to replace him and cricket has lost one of its superstars which is very unfortunate.
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

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Fall of Cricket in Asia.

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20 December, 2012 

Recent events in Cricket show that like other sports graph of cricket is also falling in Asian countries. Some years ago it was dream for any country to won series in subcontinent on spin wickets but recent defeats of Sri Lanka and now India have completely changed course of cricket in subcontinent. Only last month Sri Lanka lost series against Australia it was first win of Australian team on Sri Lankan soil. After retirement of key players specially spin wizard Murali Dharan Sri Lanka is struggling with new players.
India also lost series against England after twenty eight years England won test series against India on Indian soil. Trott and Bell complete England historic revival and England captain declared recent success against India more than won in famous Ashes between Australia and England. India is also struggling after retirement of Dravid, Luxman and other key players. True reality is that introduction of T20, IPLs and commercialization of cricket in subcontinent is main cause of poor performance of young payers in test cricket. After increasing trend of IPls and T20 players are still not able to adjust themselves in Test cricket environment. Famous innings of Hanif Mohammed, Sunil Gawasker, Javed Mindad, Saeed Anwar, Arvinda Disilva and Rana Tunga have become dream for cricket fans in subcontinent which is very unfortunate.
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ
Jeddah

 

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London Olympics

London Olympics
The recent performance of the sub-continental countries in the London Olympics has proved that the graph of sports for these countries has fallen to a new low, just as they have been inept in other fields of life. Pakistan’s 23-member squad could not get a single medal in any event. The hockey team lost an important match against Australia by 7-0 and the performance of other athletes was also below average. India’s population is more than the US but the Indian squad managed to get only three medals. The Indian hockey team got 12th position on the points table. Political influence, non-merit and poor training facilities are the main causes of the poor performance of athletes and hockey players. Most of the appointments in key sports are politically motivated. Developing countries exhibit poor training facilities and those athletes and players who come from poor areas do not even get financial support from the government. Cricket being a popular and money minting sport in Pakistan and India, the governments of both countries pay little or no attention to other sports. The pity is that many a poor and small African country managed to get medals in racing and other indoor sports events. Because of a lack of governmental support, poor training facilities, financial difficulties and poor playing stamina, players and athletes were unable to compete with the US, African, South American, Chinese and European players.
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ,
Jeddah, August 15.

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Global warming

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According to media reports people of New York City and much of the US East Coast braced themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. New York City shut down its mass transit system, closed its schools and ordered hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes Sunday in the face of dire predictions about the hurricane.
According to initial warnings, it could be the largest storm – with a diameter of more than 1,500 kilometers when measured by the extent of damaging-force winds — to hit the United States. The storm sheer size and power not the intensity at its core poses the gravest danger. Seven thousand flights around the city have already canceled or rescheduled. On the instructions of city Mayor Michael Bloomberg 375,000 people are migrating from low lying areas to high areas.

Due to the global warming, we are seeing worst kinds of flooding, hurricanes and droughts in many countries. Not only poor countries but rich countries are also a paying a high price for natural disasters. Now from China to Russia and Australia to the US, no one is safe. Only month ago more than half million population migrated from flood affected areas of China, just days ago Russia also witnessed its worst floods of its recent history.

Last year floods in Australia destroyed thousands of acres of land and homes. Unfortunately despite growing global warming and increasing natural disasters, world community has failed to control raising temperature of earth which is main cause of this type of disasters and ordinary people are falling victims. Due to selfishness of big powers, last global summit failed to bring about any positive change and big powers are still blaming each other for raising level of carbon on earth. Record numbers of floods and hurricanes are adding to woes of already weak world economy. Only combined efforts of modern world can minimize these natural disasters.

— Khawaja Umer Farooq, Jeddah

      

 

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Downfall of subcontinent’s cricket

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ARAB NEWS

Wednesday 19 December 2012
Last Update 18 December 2012 5:00 pm
Recent events in cricket show that like other sports graph of cricket is also falling in Asian countries. Some years ago it was dream for any country to win series in the subcontinent on spinning tracks but recent defeats of Sri Lanka and now India have completely changed the course of cricket in the subcontinent.
Only last month Sri Lanka lost a series against Australia it was first win of Australian team on Sri Lankan soil. After retirement of key players specially spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka is struggling with new players. India also lost a Test series against England on its soil after 28 years. Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell completed England’s historic revival.
England captain Alastair Cook rated his side’s historic 2-1 Test series win in India every bit as special as their 2010-11 Ashes success in Australia. India is also struggling after retirement of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and other key players. I believe that the introduction of T20, IPLs and commercialization of cricket in the subcontinent is the main cause of poor performance of young payers in Test cricket.
After playing a number of T20 matches players are not able to adjust themselves to the Test cricket environment. Famous innings of Hanif Mohammed, Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Saeed Anwar, Arvinda de silva and Arjun Ranatunga have become dream for cricket fans in the subcontinent which is very unfortunate. 

 Khawaja Umer FarooqJeddah